When Will Ferrell Nearly Pretended to be Prince at Golden Globes
Prince built up an impressive stack of industry awards – including an Oscar, six Grammys and five American Music Awards – before he was finally given his one and only Golden Globe in 2007. The only problem was, he wasn’t in the room, and everyone (including Prince) thought he would be.
When his track “The Song of the Heart” from the movie Happy Feet was named as winner in the best song category, presenter Justin Timberlake looked up to find Prince in the room. The cameras, broadcasting live on NBC, turned across the audience as applauding industry professionals scanned the hall for someone to stand up and move towards the stage. But no one did.
At that very moment, Prince was stuck in a Los Angeles gridlock somewhere near the venue. Eventually realizing that he wasn’t present, someone instructed Timberlake to keep the show moving. “I guess Prince couldn’t be here, so I’d like to accept this award on his behalf.” Commentators noted that he’d crouched down as if to imitate the winner’s height. The Golden Globe, of course, was later delivered to its rightful owner.
Listen to Prince Perform ‘The Song of the Heart’
Years later, Will Ferrell admitted that he considered pretending to be Prince during those first moments of doubt. He told the story to Seth Rogen, who recounted it on a recent episode of Jerry Senfield’s show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
“[Ferrell] was at an awards show years and years and years ago, and Prince won an award. And Prince wasn’t there to accept it, and they didn’t realize that,” Rogen said. “They thought Prince was gonna come up. There was like a moment where people didn’t quite know where Prince was – and Will was like, in that moment, ‘I have the idea to get up on stage and accept the award as Prince. And not make a joke about it. Just literally go up, 'Thank you so much, I appreciate it!' He was like, 'It would have been the funniest thing.' It never fucking happened. It hurts so bad! They’d have played it for years and years.”
The end of Rogen’s account, in his tweet below, appears to show the moment Ferrell considered jumping onto the empty stage to pretend he was Prince:
Meanwhile, Prince will be the subject of a dedicated awards show when former collaborators and admirers gather for Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince on Jan. 28.